Assessing language development in Arabic-learning monolingual and bilingual toddlers
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Assessing children’s language is fundamental for changing their developmental outcome as it gives a chance for a quick and early intervention with a suitable planning and monitoring program. Since there is no universal Arabic language screening tool that can be used for the assessment of Arabic-speaking toddler due, in part, to the particular case of the Arabic language, this thesis aims to validate and standardize a new Arabic assessment tool, usable by parents and professionals to screen the development of language in children between 8 months and 30 months across 17 countries. The second aim of the Arabic CDI is to be usable with Arabic-English bilingual children living in the UK from different dialect backgrounds, and in countries like Lebanon and UAE where multilingualism is common. Because previous research has shown that the relative exposure to each language is a central predictor of bilingual children’s vocabulary development, we evaluated whether different ways of measuring exposure to each language would lead to different outcomes, through comparing a selection of language exposure tools to assess their relative reliability and ultimately, their user-friendliness. The role of factors that could modulate vocabulary knowledge in monolingual and bilingual children such as SES, gender, siblings, etc. has been examined as these might be important to consider by parents, practitioners and researchers when using the CDI. In addition to the standardization of the dialect-adapted Arabic CDI, this thesis showed that there is no significant impact of dialect variations on language development in Arabic-speaking children.